The Middle East and Central Asia faces dire economic and financial consequences if nothing is done to address the worsening climate crisis, according to an International Monetary Fund report.
The IMF’s managing director, Kristalina Georgieva, said climate change was already affecting people’s lives and livelihoods in the region.
And the problem is only set to escalate if the world fails to rein in rising temperatures.
Addressing the World Government Summit, Ms Georgieva said the IMF’s new report, Feeling the Heat: Adapting to Climate Change in the Middle East and Central Asia demonstrated how urgent the issue was.
According to the report:
- At just 1.1°C of warming, half the global population faces water insecurity at least one month per year. The problem will be particularly felt in this region.
- So far this century, in an average year, climate disasters in the Middle East and Central Asia have injured and displaced 7 million people, caused more than 2,600 deaths and resulted in $2 billion in damage
- To address the problem, the world needs to cut global emissions by one half by 2030
“With just 1.1 degrees Celsius of warming, half the global population faces water insecurity at least one month per year. And this is particularly strongly felt in this region,” she said.
“Over the past two decades, the frequency and severity of climate-related disasters here have been rising faster than anywhere in the world. Droughts in North Africa, Somalia and Iran. Epidemics and locust infestations in the Horn of Africa. Severe floods in the Caucasus and Central Asia.
“The list of disasters is quickly getting longer.”
As the new paper shows, the economic and financial implications of these climate impacts pose a “major threat” to growth and prosperity of the region, said Ms Georgieva.
o far this century, climate disasters in the Middle East and Central Asia have injured and displaced 7 million people, caused more than 2,600 deaths and resulted in $2 billion in damage in an average year, she added.
“We also know that extreme weather events typically cut annual economic growth by 1–2 percentage points per capita.
“In the Caucasus and Central Asia sub-region, they even caused a permanent loss in the GDP level of 5.5 percentage points. Today’s climate challenges are already exacting a heavy toll.
“And we know our planet is set to keep on getting warmer. Even accounting for significant global cuts to emissions, by 2050, average summertime temperatures could exceed 30°C in half of the region’s countries.”
But there is much that could be done to address the problem, she said.